Capitol News
6:24 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Hunters Miss Target for historic First Wolf Hunt

Wolves on Isle Royale
Credit J.A. Vucetich and R.O. Peterson

  Hunters fall far short of killing 43 wolves in historic first hunt

By Jake Neher

The end of 2013 also marks the end of Michigan’s historic and controversial first wolf hunt. The state had allowed 43 wolves to be killed during the 46-day hunt. But hunters only killed a little more than half that amount.

“We didn’t even come close to that, obviously,” said Ed Golder with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “But it’s important to remember that was a ceiling, not a target.”

State wildlife officials now start the months-long process of collecting data about the hunt. It will be used to determine whether and how to hold another one next year.

“We’ll look at that data,” said Golder. “We’ll do another wolf population survey this winter. We’ll talk to hunters. And we’ll try and determine a recommendation for the Natural Resources Commission, which ultimately has authority over whether or not a hunt takes place and – if a hunt takes place – what the parameters of that hunt would be.”

Golder says one question is whether they chose the best time of year to hold the hunt.

“The harvest dropped off dramatically in December,” he said, “and that was coincided with some pretty bad weather in that part of the UP. So, one of the things we’ll look at is the timing of the hunt, if that’s the best time to do this or not.”

Opponents of the wolf hunt hope this will also be the last one in Michigan. They’re organizing a ballot campaign in 2014 to repeal the law that allowed the hunt.